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Mancini last week: A-OK! Mancini this week: not so much

Manchester City's Balotelli reacts during their English Premier League soccer match against Arsenal in London

Manchester City’s Mario Balotelli reacts during their English Premier League soccer match against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in London April 8, 2012. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER) NO USE WITH UNAUTHORIZED AUDIO, VIDEO, DATA, FIXTURE LISTS, CLUB/LEAGUE LOGOS OR “LIVE” SERVICES. ONLINE IN-MATCH USE LIMITED TO 45 IMAGES, NO VIDEO EMULATION. NO USE IN BETTING, GAMES OR SINGLE CLUB/LEAGUE/PLAYER PUBLICATIONS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS

REUTERS

Here’s a little something to consider while we start engraving “Manchester United” on the 2011-2012 Premiership trophy.

By now you probably know of the distraction and destruction Mario Balotelli hath wrought, today and before.

So let’s step quickly into the WABAC Machine – but no need to go very far.

Just last week against Sunderland, Balotelli was making news through an angry, in-game exchange with teammate Aleksandar Kolarov. Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini promised that things were hunky-dory in the aftermath. He was asked generally whether Balotelli is causing too many problems, becoming an unmanageable distraction?

“No, no, no, I’m not worried,” he said with a dismissive air. “It’s important that after the game everything was OK, and that we don’t have any problem between Mario and Kolarov.”

Please compare and contrast to his post-game comments from Sunday, when the City boss admitted that a “For Sale” sign is about to go out on Balotelli.

Probably … You should be happy if Mario stays here. He fills one, two, three pages of your newspaper. … He needs to change his behavior if he wants to continue. I saw players who lost their talent and finished in three years.”

I’ll have more on Mancini and the Balotelli circus later. For now, let Fox Soccer Channel analyst Eric Wynalda have the last word. He nailed the perfect holiday note earlier today on Twitter:

“No pun intended but, Mancini has put all his eggs in the wrong basket. Happy Easter.”